Blu-ray
Recommended
2.5 stars
List Price
$19.99
Amazon
$14.99 (25%)
3rd Party
$8.80
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»
Overall Grade
2.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
3 Stars
HD Video Quality
3 Stars
HD Audio Quality
3 Stars
Supplements
1 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Recommended

Barbie: Spy Squad

Street Date:
March 1st, 2016
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
March 10th, 2016
Movie Release Year:
2016
Studio:
Universal
Length:
75 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

These 'Barbie' films are on a roll as of lately, releasing a few per year with new characters and stories. I hate to think that as I get older, I'm enjoying these more. Don't get me wrong, I would never suggest watching a 'Barbie' film to anyone, but it seems like the creative team has developed a formula to deliver a decently entertaining film with each outing that can appeal to the kid demographic these are aimed for, as well as adults. With the last film, 'Barbie and Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure', I was shocked to actually enjoy it somewhat, in that the film heavily borrowed from 'The Goonies'. There was a message to the film, funny moments, and decent characters, despite the cheese and bright pink colors everywhere.

This is more or less the same case with this recent film 'Barbie: Spy Squad', which is the "Barbie" version of '007 James Bond' and 'Mission Impossible' rolled into one pink and purple movie. Again, the filmmakers have managed to sneak in a singular message for the young kids, which is admirable, along with some fun moments, and references to a ton of spy films that should make the adults smile. It's as if Barbie just walks into a certain genre and goes, "I can work with this and make it mine", which is what this creative team has done with at least the past few films, including this one.

Barbie (Erica Lindbeck) is a successful gymnast with her close friends.In fact, they are a team that competes throughout the year, and it just happens they could take home the gold, but Barbie buckles under pressure and doesn't believe she is good enough, thus causing her to make a mistake and lose the top spot in the competition. After the loss, Barbie and her teammates head for a picnic at the famous Hollywood sign, where in true 'James Bond' fashion, the Hollywood sign opens up to a secret underground lair with super secret agent spies and tons of cool electronic gadgets.

Barbie and her friends soon realize this was not by chance, rather thy were lured there to be signed up as super secret spies themselves to track and find a jewel thief that seems impossible to catch. With these girls' expertise in gymnastics, it's a perfect fit to jump thru security lasers and tackle obstacles with ease to get the criminal. With these adventures and capers, comes the message for the kids, which is believe in yourself and work as a team. Leave no man behind, or in this case, no woman behind.

Of course, you'll be able to predict just about everything that happens in the film, from the dialogue to the story, to what kind of gadgets they would use (robotic pets, hairbrushes, and lipstick) that have double purpose. You've seen it all before, but here, it's with Barbie, and the whole 'Girl Power' theme is in full force. 'Barbie: Spy Squad' has a certain formula that has been getting better and better with each film, and despite the cheesiness, predictability, and over-use of pinks and purples, this installment is quite entertaining for the kids. The adults won't want to gouge their eyes out either.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

‘Barbie: Spy Squad’ comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc that is Region A locked along with a DVD copy of the film and a digital download. There are a couple of inserts that cover other Barbie products and the download code. Everything is housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve cover.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Barbie: Spy Squad' comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This is by no means a Disney or Pixar production, so don't expect that amount of detail or depth here. That being said, the color scheme is what sells these 'Barbie' films from the rest. Expect a ton of bright and vibrant pinks and purples all over the screen, even in places where you wouldn't expect it. The color spectrum definitely sets its sights to a certain young female demographic, but it isn't overly done to the point where it hurts the eyes.

Basically, nothing is realistic looking. Detail in this animated film is unfortunately a little bit below average. The faces, arms, and legs all look soft and flat with almost no detail or texturing. The clothing looks a little better, revealing the finer textures in stitching, but just barely. The background environments and objects look decent enough too. The black levels are somewhat deep, but suffer a little bit of crush and there are some issues with banding and aliasing throughout, to the point where it is very noticeable in almost each scene. That being said, the color spectrum is what shines here and the demographic for these films won't notice any of the issues.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and is more or less sub-par for an animated action film. The biggest part of this sound mix is the music, which is bubble gum pop music and is the most dynamic thing here. Sound effects never sound realistic at all and are fairly flat, whether it be a chase sequence or in a kitchen, nothing packs a punch here. There are some decent ambient noises that pop on the rear speakers, but isn't often.

Neither the sound effects or ambient sounds are powerful, but are rather soft for some reason. Dialogue though is clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrill. The bass comes to play, but again, it's also a bit soft in the heavier action sequences. Again, the music here is the best part of this soundscape with the other elements quietly chiming in.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Music Video (HD, 3 Mins.) - Here is the music video for 'Strength in Numbers'.

Outtakes (HD, 2 Mins.) - Barbie and her pals have some funny moments on set.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD exclusives.

Final Thoughts

'Barbie: Spy Squad' is another decent edition to the whole 'Barbie' film franchise, which takes its cues from other films. This time around it steals moments from your favorite spy movies. It's cheesy, predictable, and ridiculous, but it is also a bit of fun for both kids and adults. Unfortunately, the video and audio presentations aren't top notch, but that shouldn't matter to the target demographic here. There are also a couple of short extras that should appease the young ones, leaving this 'Barbie' film Recommended for fans! 

Technical Specs

  • 50GB Blu-ray Disc + DVD + Digital Copy

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p MPEG-4 AVC

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Spanish: DTS 5.1
  • French: DTS 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, French, Spanish

Supplements

  • Music Video
  • Outtakes

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List Price
$19.99
Amazon
$14.99 (25%)
3rd Party
$8.80
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»